Imported malaria in pregnant women: A retrospective pooled analysis

Travel Med Infect Dis. 2015 Jul-Aug;13(4):300-10. doi: 10.1016/j.tmaid.2015.06.011. Epub 2015 Jul 9.


Background: Data on imported malaria in pregnant women are scarce.

Method: A retrospective, descriptive study of pooled data on imported malaria in pregnancy was done using data from 1991 to 2014 from 8 different collaborators in Europe, the United States and Japan. National malaria reference centres as well as specialists on this topic were asked to search their archives for cases of imported malaria in pregnancy. A total of 631 cases were collated, providing information on Plasmodium species, region of acquisition, nationality, country of residence, reason for travel, age, gestational age, prophylactic measures and treatment used, as well as on complications and outcomes in mother and child.

Results: Datasets from some sources were incomplete. The predominant Plasmodium species was P. falciparum (78.5% of cases). Among the 542 cases where information on the use of chemoprophylaxis was known, 464 (85.6%) did not use chemoprophylaxis. The main reason for travelling was "visiting friends and relatives" VFR (57.8%) and overall, most cases of malaria were imported from West Africa (57.4%). Severe anaemia was the most frequent complication in the mother. Data on offspring outcome were limited, but spontaneous abortion was a frequently reported foetal outcome (n = 14). A total of 50 different variants of malaria treatment regimens were reported.

Conclusions: Imported cases of malaria in pregnancy are mainly P. falciparum acquired in sub-Saharan Africa. Malaria prevention and treatment in pregnant travellers is a challenge for travel medicine due to few data on medication safety and maternal and foetal outcomes. International, collaborative efforts are needed to capture standardized data on imported malaria cases in pregnant women.

Keywords: Chemoprophylaxis; Imported malaria; Pregnancy; Travel; Treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Malaria / epidemiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / epidemiology*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Travel / statistics & numerical data*
  • Young Adult